“A new light” : The world in infrared
One of my photography mentors, Deborah Sandidige, wrote a book about Digital Infrared Photography several years ago and I read it front to back and forth many times and was inspired to attempt to take some of her very intricate techniques and put a bit of a twist on them. I converted one of my old Nikon DSLR cameras to 720nm IR. I was so excited when I received the body back from LIfepixel who executed the conversion…I immediately took a shot of a flame…hmmm LOL! (Not so good result)
Since then I have experimented, learned, failed and failed again and the process continues. I have always liked night photography and light painting. Light painting involves using a steady camera on a tripod, long exposures and illuminating the subject with incandescent light. It is a very cool technique and produces spectacular images. I then thought, why not Infrared Light Painting? I had never seen anyone do this, so time to figure it out!
With a 720nm converted sensor, one needs to find an appropriate light source for illumination. After a bit of thinking, I discovered that a 850nm light source would be perfect. In order to execute IR light painting, one must be in total darkness such that there is no light contamination from any incandescent sources (not to mention the sun). The 850nm light is barely visible to the human eye so most of the painting is done only by imagining the way the light will behave…weird, yes!
I practiced on objects in the dark, then tried some long exposure “Selfies”. I then had the cooperation of some local artists in Southern California who bought into my madness! We all had fun and learned new and exciting things that neither of us had attempted before!
In the words of a great German writer, Goethe, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now”